Outdoors

Hitch Hotel launches innovative expanding micro camping trailer

Hitch Hotel launches innovative expanding micro camping trailer
The Hitch Hotel Traveler expanded and ready to serve as a cozy day shelter and overnight camper
The Hitch Hotel Traveler expanded and ready to serve as a cozy day shelter and overnight camper
View 15 Images
Like a vintage folding camera, the Hitch Hotel Traveler extends during use and packs up for travel
1/15
Like a vintage folding camera, the Hitch Hotel Traveler extends during use and packs up for travel
At just 950 lb dry, the Hitch Hotel Traveler is a versatile, lightweight camper ready to be towed by electric and small vehicles
2/15
At just 950 lb dry, the Hitch Hotel Traveler is a versatile, lightweight camper ready to be towed by electric and small vehicles
Even when fully extended, the Hitch Hotel Traveler measures under 8 feet long
3/15
Even when fully extended, the Hitch Hotel Traveler measures under 8 feet long
The Hitch Hotel Traveler all packed and locked up and ready to tow
4/15
The Hitch Hotel Traveler all packed and locked up and ready to tow
The Traveler becomes a two-person micro-hut at camp
5/15
The Traveler becomes a two-person micro-hut at camp
The Hitch Hotel Traveler creates as small a vehicle + trailer footprint as it can while packing plenty of space for two campers
6/15
The Hitch Hotel Traveler creates as small a vehicle + trailer footprint as it can while packing plenty of space for two campers
Unlike pop-top camping trailers, the Hitch Hotel has a hard roof and hard sides all around
7/15
Unlike pop-top camping trailers, the Hitch Hotel has a hard roof and hard sides all around
The Hitch Hotel Traveler expanded and ready to serve as a cozy day shelter and overnight camper
8/15
The Hitch Hotel Traveler expanded and ready to serve as a cozy day shelter and overnight camper
The front of the Traveler looks a little more rugged and refined from the prototype version Hitch Hotel showed in 2020
9/15
The front of the Traveler looks a little more rugged and refined from the prototype version Hitch Hotel showed in 2020
At camp with the Hitch Hotel Traveler micro-camping trailer
10/15
At camp with the Hitch Hotel Traveler micro-camping trailer
The Traveler cabin stretches just over 7 feet when open, offering plenty of length for two people to lie down
11/15
The Traveler cabin stretches just over 7 feet when open, offering plenty of length for two people to lie down
Hitch Hotel offers the front storage box as an option
12/15
Hitch Hotel offers the front storage box as an option
Inside the Hitch Hotel Traveler trailer
13/15
Inside the Hitch Hotel Traveler trailer
With its tall, open hatch door, the Hitch Hotel Traveler becomes a functional tailgate-style hangout at camp
14/15
With its tall, open hatch door, the Hitch Hotel Traveler becomes a functional tailgate-style hangout at camp
The Traveler houses two adults, but we're thinking these three little guys should fit fine
15/15
The Traveler houses two adults, but we're thinking these three little guys should fit fine
View gallery - 15 images

We last heard from Hitch Hotel at the exact point the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning to disrupt life as we know it in March 2020. At the time, the California company was raising money to develop a telescoping tiny trailer it called the Traveler. Needless to say, its timing proved less than ideal and made for a difficult slog to market. It has now successfully emerged through to the other side and launched the expandable Traveler. The unique camper packs up in seconds to create one of the tiniest camping trailer footprints out there, growing quickly at camp to sleep two people comfortably. At under US$10K to start, it's an intriguing micro-camper option.

Before the Traveler, Hitch Hotel burst onto the scene in 2018 with a different style of "trailer," one that compacted down, mounted directly to the hitch without the need for its own wheels, and stretched out at camp to create enough space for a camping couple. Things went quite well at first – along with the buzz that came with creating something truly different, Hitch Hotel raised over $170,000 in a successful Kickstarter campaign.

But then it ran into a wall. As it worked to ready the hitch-able camper box for market, the design got heavier and heavier, ballooning from 240 lb (109 kg) to over 380 lb (172 kg) and thereby necessitating a Class III hitch. Hitch Hotel found itself with a tiny, lightweight, affordable camper that required a large, expensive SUV or truck as an escort vehicle and simply didn't see that much of a market for it.

Original Hitch Hotel
Original Hitch Hotel

So the Hitch Hotel team worked around the problem by designing the Traveler, putting the telescoping fiberglass box onto a wheeled chassis to create a more conventional trailer. Back in 2020, the company was planning to offer the original wheel-less Hitch Hotel Classic and the wheeled Traveler caravan side by side, but with the added lockdown and supply chain difficulties that immediately followed, it decided to focus solely on the more universal and globally marketable Traveler ... at least for now.

While 380 lb is a lot to carry directly on a vehicle hitch, it's quite lightweight for an entire trailer body. Once specced into fully wheeled trailer form, the Traveler tips the scales at 950 lb (431 kg) empty, joining the subset of sub-1,000-pounders on this year's rather robust list of small, ultralight camping trailers. Vehicle selection becomes much broader and includes crossovers, small hatchbacks and sedans, and electric cars around the world, not just large American SUVs and trucks.

The Traveler measures a mere 7.8 feet (2.4 m) long when it's fully extended at camp and its folding tow bar dropped down in hitch position. Once its body is closed up and tow bar folded, it measures just 3.5 feet (107 cm) long, storing away easily in a garage or up against the house. It stands 6 feet (1.8 m) tall and stretches the same 6 feet wide.

The fiberglass trailer comes ready to perform the split role of cargo trailer and hard-sided camping shelter. When traveling to camp, owners can fill it up with all means of regular car camping gear – tables, chairs, stoves, cookware, dishes, etc. – just like a dedicated cargo trailer. The 1,800-lb (816-kg) torsion axle leaves 850 lb (385 kg) of payload for gear, and the removable front cargo box offers added storage space.

The Traveler cabin stretches just over 7 feet when open, offering plenty of length for two people to lie down
The Traveler cabin stretches just over 7 feet when open, offering plenty of length for two people to lie down

At camp, owners unload their gear, stretch the Traveler body out into camper form and sleep inside as a more comfortable, insulated, above-ground alternative to a tent. The process takes only a few minutes and involves dropping the support legs and sliding the expansion segments out. Campers then access the interior via a tall tailgate that lifts open and can be locked from inside or outside.

Inside the Hitch Hotel Traveler trailer
Inside the Hitch Hotel Traveler trailer

The fiberglass interior comes lined in marine-grade canvas fitted with padded insulation. A standard 60-Ah battery powers the roof fan, LED light and two USB ports. Along with the bidirectional roof fan, the Traveler's three locking dual-pane screened windows help keep interior air moving. A mattress is not included in the standard package, so owners will want to pack their own folding, rolling or inflatable sleeping pad(s).

The 2023 Hitch Hotel is available for order now at a base price of $9,800. Optional upgrades include a 100-Ah lithium battery, memory foam mattress, power closing system, battery-powered A/C and diesel heater. Hitch Hotel is also working on adding kitchen, onboard water storage, and portable toilet options.

With its tall, open hatch door, the Hitch Hotel Traveler becomes a functional tailgate-style hangout at camp
With its tall, open hatch door, the Hitch Hotel Traveler becomes a functional tailgate-style hangout at camp

As for the original concept of a direct-to-hitch camper, Hitch Hotel is still hoping to launch that version in the future, but those hopes are ultimately tied to how well things go with the Traveler.

Source: Hitch Hotel

View gallery - 15 images
3 comments
3 comments
moreover
Impressive but since the gallery often shows a bicycle I wonder how one could attach bikes to this trailer. Taking bikes along probably fits the demographic of potential buyers of tiny trailers.
PAV
I've loved this concept from its beginning as a hitch mount. I wonder how much tongue weight that optional box adds.
The price seems right. Once you add a kitchen, water, and portable toilet, now you've got a real nice mini camper. I wonder if you can tow it expanded if you gave extra gear.
ljaques
@PAV The tongue weight is all determined by the number of gold bars you have left over after paying for the Hitch Hotel. And I imagine that a pair of bike carriers could be bolted onto the sides of the metal storage box. There's no room on the tongue platform and the fiberglass sides of the hotel are likely too delicate to hold the weight of bouncing bikes. Or maybe break down the bikes and store them in the hotel? A bit messy.